The work for my first article for GUE’s InDepth magazine put me in touch with some absolute legends of cave exploration, past and present. This piece is a bit on the technical side, but if you have half as much fun reading it as I had during the research and writing, then I’m happy. I’m sure pretty damn proud of it.
Shore diving in Taiwan is pretty special and something that is close to my heart. I’m glad I got to write about it for the Alert Diver blog.
DAN Europe is giving away a nice double-ended bolt snap to members this year and asked me to write a piece extolling its virtues. Here’s my venture into advertainment writing… https://blog.daneurope.org/en_US/blog/shore-diving-in-taiwan-challenges-and-adaptations-in-a-unique-environment
(personal blog post)
With travel to and from Taiwan possible again without mandatory quarantine, I was finally able to visit the Philippines for the first time since January 2020.
While much has changed in and around my old haunt of Puerto Galera (Mindoro), and quite a few dive shops in the area have closed (in particular those focused on the mainland Chinese market), I’m happy to report that all of the dive shops in my old neighborhood of Small La Laguna still in business. Arkipelago Divers & Beach Resort and Tech Asia, where I teach, have even improved their facilities in the long down time, an impressive achievement considering the utter collapse of their income. Much respect for their hard work and determination in the face of adversity.
What’s more, in no small part thanks to improvements the barangay Sabang has made to its sewage situation, the local reefs are in great shape and brimming with life. I’ve always loved diving here, but these past few days it’s been even more beautiful than I remember. For those interested, I posted a collection of pictures and videos on Facebook by way of example. I’m not exactly a photography expert, but I hope you get the idea.
I would like to invite all those who think about traveling abroad again to consider Puerto Galera and the Philippines in general as a destination. The people and local businesses, especially the smaller ones, have persevered through some very hard times, but have kept their heads high and are looking forward to welcoming you here.
Please contact me for inquiries about dive travel to Puerto Galera. I’m able to make arrangements for pickup from Manila airport (NAIA), transportation to the resort (3-3.5 h total depending on traffic), accommodation, technical and recreational diving and dive training at all levels. Group rates are available, and please feel free to share this post with friends who have a love for the ocean. Looking forward to picking up where we left off.
Being able to predict how long your gas supply lasts is an essential prerequisite for dive planning. I wrote a brief explainer for Alert Diver Magazine.
Everybody agrees that planning your gas reserves is an essential part of dive safety. At the same time, hardly anybody teaches it. That’s because it involves numbers and a bit of logical thinking – two things that recreational training agencies avoid like the plague. Instead, they’d rather talk about how snorkels come in different colors.
Now, some responsible instructors, including quite a few a know personally, go above and beyond and teach proper gas planning anyway, maybe in an AOW course or a Deep Diving specialty. However, if you want to take a class that actually requires systematic gas planning as part of its curriculum, you basically have to learn tec diving.
While I’m the last person to dissuade anyone from taking a tec diving class, I still don’t think that recreational divers deserve to be left in the dark like this. And if you want to know how I teach gas planning at the recreational level, then you can read my article in Alert Diver.
DAN Europe is more than a dive insurance company. Many of their leading folks are involved in hyperbaric research. I wrote a piece presenting a research paper on the physiology of deep CCR diving for Alert Diver, featuring Costatino Balestra, DAN Europe VP of Research and Education.